Hope Is Oxygen

I’ve just finished a draft of a second book called Hope Is Oxygen. Below you can find some excerpts that give you a bit of a feel for it.



Bubba is an idiot. He’s 23 years old and he’s a cashier at a boutique grocery store. Thinks he’s fucking Hemingway. His relationships don’t last and his friends don’t believe him when he says he wishes they would. I am condemned to spectate, to sit idly by and monitor the ignominious flailing that constitutes Bubba’s existence. Does that seem exciting? It is not. For example, Bubba enjoys several hours of cognitive abeyance each night while I ponder the intricacies of the phenomena upon which our physical world rests. Then he wakes up and I watch him ride his bicycle to work and drag his feet to help him stop at red lights because his brakes haven’t been working so well recently and he somehow has failed to realize that all that is required to fix the problem is to realign the brake pads and tighten them with an Allen Wrench. Not once has it occurred to him to take a gander at the wheels of his fucking bicycle. I honestly think that in his mind brakes just “wear down” over time and that he’d have to take it to a shop or something to deal with the problem. Want to know the worst part? Bubba, with his inane inability to understand simple mechanical operations, appears somehow to be more intelligent than most of the people who come through the stupid grocery store where he and I remain for the majority of each day.


I received a letter today. Addressed to me, not to my parents. It said:

“Dear Mr. Jeb Dwyer,

Due to the statute 29.4 B, recently passed and retroactive to all medical documents for the past 25 years, we have sent you the records from your experimental treatment as an infant of 6 months. The full details are in the attached records. Below is a brief summary.

September 6th 1992 – August 1st 1993

Experimental drug, Salutem, was administered, promoting neurogenesis in frontal lobes of brain in attempt to counter growth of malignant tumor. Result: Elimination of tumor and permanent changes to brain structure including increase in volume of frontal lobes, with particular increase in the following areas: Broca’s area, Brodman area 10, Brodman area 46, and along the rostro-caudal and dorsal-ventral axes of the frontal cortex. Brain imaging appeared to show damage to the corpus callosum. The extent of the damage is unknown, as are the long-term effects of both the damage and the increase in volume. The patient was discharged and the options for further observation and/or participation in a longitudinal study were declined.

On a separate note, I think I might need some new sneakers. The soles are really wearing out.



There’s a guy who’s been coming to the bar a lot lately. He’s a little awkward but I like him. He always asks if he can leave his bike behind the bar. He seems intimidated by me but that’s probably just because all the guys hit on me when I’m working. He shouldn’t be intimidated. They do that just because I’m the one who happens to be there and they’re tipsy. He was writing today. I like the way that he wrings his hands and look down at the notebook in front of him. He doesn’t seem pretentious like most people who think they’re writers. He looked worried and lost there at the bar. He asked me to get a drink with him tomorrow. For some reason he ordered four lemonades. I think I’ll go. I wonder if I should tell him I’m depressed. He might not want to be around me anymore. Or he might want to fuck me and then leave. It wouldn’t be the first time.

This is a story about beings for whom existing is sometimes stressful and sad. It is a story about falling in love and maybe out of love and it is a story that examines one of the most basic human tendencies: the tendency to hope.